Ugh, dandruff. No one likes dusting white flakes off their shoulders. But how can we ditch the flakes without damaging the rest of our strands? Easy: with these effective yet gentle shampoos designed to keep itching and—most importantly—flaking at bay. Here are three dandruff shampoos that are letting us wear black again.


Editors’ Pick: Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

The Facts:

  • Prescription quality ketoconazole controls flaking and soothes itching
  • Has a fresh, clean scent and a gentle formula
  • Effective with twice-a-week use

When we’re dealing with flakes, our first instinct is to reach for this shampoo. It’s gentle (but effective), safe for color-treated and chemically-processed hair, has a subtle clean scent, and uses the same active ingredient (ketoconazole) as many prescription-strength shampoos (minus the trip to the derm). And one PureWow editors swears by it: “This shampoo is basically the only reason I can still wear black. It gets rid of flakes without drying out my strands, plus I only need to use it once or twice a week for results. The best part: It doesn’t leave that lingering chemical smell like a lot of dandruff shampoos do.”

Buy It ($15)


Best Value: Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

The Facts:

  • Coal tar extract reduces inflammation and fights dandruff all day long
  • Dermatologist- and National Psoriasis Foundation-recommended
  • Gentle enough for daily shampooing 

When our mom told us to use good old T/Gel for our scaly scalp, we should’ve known she was right. It’s been a dandruff-fighting standby for over ten years. But the dermatologist-recommended shampoo not only kicks itching and flaking with one use—it also keeps working long after it’s rinsed out. What’s more, it’s got the National Psoriasis Foundation stamp of approval for relieving redness, inflammation and scalp irritation. One caveat: It’s famous for that strong “grandma’s basement” scent…but considering it’ll only set us back $10, we can deal.

Buy It ($10)


Splurge-Worthy: Oribe Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

The Facts:

  • Salon-quality shampoo gives results with one use
  • Salicylic acid controls flakiness
  • Bilberry and sugar maple extracts soothe and protect the scalp

We’re suckers for packaging, so when a product is as effective as it is good-looking, it’s a win-win. This salon-quality shampoo features gentle salicylic acid to slough away flakes, plus soothing active ingredients (like orange and lemon extract) to keep them from coming back. But the real game changer is the addition of botanicals like bilberry fruit and sugar maple extract, which maintain moisture and protect against free radicals when we lather up. (It’s like an anti-aging treatment for our scalp.)

Buy It ($46)

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